This week Friday marks the beginning of the Big Flood during the times of Noah. The flood signifies Hashem’s judgment over the nations. It follows the month of Tishrei, where the judgments were sealed during Yom Kippur and released on Hoshana Raba (the 7th day of Sukkot) for the year to come. The flood also follows 10 days after the official prayer for rain in the Land of Israel. We can therefore see that these dynamics are interlinked.
Noah’s ark is spelled (תבה) in Hebrew and pronounced “Tevah”. The only other place that it appears is with Moshe (Moses). The basket of Moshe is also called a “Tevah”. In both cases it refers to some kind of box-like structure sealed with pitch (כפר) , the root word meaning a protective or restrictive covering, the same root for "Kapparah" which means atonement.
The Ark of the Covenant is spelled (ארון) and pronounced “aron”. In English they look and are pronounced the same, but in Hebrew there is a big difference, especially in meaning. As you know the Hebrew words describe the essence of an object which is connected to the fact that Hashem created the world through the Hebrew letters.
Again, we see the deep connection of this vessel in the stories of both Noah and Moshe. The water was about to wipe out the lives of millions during the time of Noah. The young boys were killed in the water of the Nile on command of Paroh (Pharaoh), during the times of Moshe. In both cases the vessels were placed on the very thing that was supposed to kill them.
With the correct and on-time response and preparation you can turn the very thing that is supposed to kill you into the vehicle that will carry you to your destiny/calling.
Think about it, many times you just read a Biblical account as just a story, almost like a fairy tale, not really understanding or appreciating the tremendous paradoxes in the story. Why would Yocheved (Moshe’s mother) take her son to the very place where all the boys were being killed, hiding Moshe in plain sight? Unthinkable.
Breaking Free from Everything You Know and Starting to Think Outside the Box.
Timing and odds seem to be at the top of Hashem’s way of doing things, and essential ingredients to a divine test – the very catalyst that will take you forward in your calling.
Remember the threshing floor principle we spoke about? The very thing that carried you and developed you, has to be severed from you at a certain time for you to reach your full potential. If not, it will severely impair you from that point onward, even kill you, if you don’t separate yourself from it at the right time. The key factor that brought about your development can turn completely counter-productive if you don’t move in timely fashion with Hashem (you can read about the threshing floor principle here).
Remember also one of the life lessons from the ancient Biblical Jerusalem that we’ve covered in previous posts? Most people confuse what is known today as the Old City, with the actual location of Jerusalem (as in the times of King David). The Old City are only 480 years old, whereas the City of David (true location of ancient Biblical Jerusalem) is more than 3,000 years old. The Ancient City lies outside the walls of the “Old City” (that happens to be in a box-like shape). For you to reach the true location, you are required to exit the Old City and walk down some 70 meters – in short: you need to think outside the box. You need to be able to bravely move beyond your frame of reference.
For a duration of 120 years Noah had to build a structure, that will ultimately protect him and his passengers from something that the world has not yet experienced at that time. Up till the time of Noah, the world only knew dew, rain was only introduced during the flood. This means that Noah was building some sort of protection against a threat that he himself had no reference of, as something like a flood has never been experienced up till that time. Can you imagine the mockery and taunts from the people seeing him do this? Imagine the resolve you need, the faith in Hashem preparing for something you yourself have never experienced?
And then the rain came. The water, that had to purify the world, came as a harsh judgment against the world’s inhabitants.
The story of Noah, speaks of an unconditional faith, not receiving all the details of what will be – flying blind basically. Hashem gives you the details you need to fulfill your task, but He doesn’t show you the bigger picture. Getting the bigger picture, you might argue, would make things much easier, it will give you the motivation and consciousness you need for perseverance. It will, however, also tempt you take matters into your own hands, in a hands-off zone.
Like we’ve seen time and time again, Hashem’s calendar is filled with dates and time pockets that carry specific characteristics. The Flood is one of those. It is a 40-day period of the activation of judgment. But it is done through water – a very deep concept that will need a book in itself to explain the depths. Water is primordial, it cleanses and resets. This is what we might encounter in our own lives as well as in the world. World politics and even those in Israel, might take certain turns in this time. You, yourself might be set on a course of correction and some kind of reset.
As the famous quote by André Gide goes:
“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– usually for an extended period of time. Sometimes our tasks (or callings) require us to 1) break free from the very thing that brought us this far, by 2) boldly jumping outside the frame of reference (box) we moved in and kept us safe up till now, and 3) continue to obediently prepare something over an extended time without constant and additional explanation or motivation from above, and that usually set against nagging odds. Be of an open mind coupled with relentless perseverance, so that you will be ready, through Hashem’s guidance, when the “reset-judgments” come to the world.
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בְּטַח אֶל יי, בְּכָל-לִבֶּךָ; וְאֶל-בִּינָתְךָ, אַל-תִּשָּׁעֵן. בְּכָל-דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ; וְהוּא, יְיַשֵּׁר אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ.
Trust in Hashem with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will straighten your paths.
- Prov 3: 5-6